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March 28, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1192 2006-03-28 15:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001192 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/2016 

Classified By: Political Counselor Aubrey Carlson for reasons 1.4 (b) a 
nd (d). 


1. (C) The March 26 elections in western Ukraine's Rivne 
Oblast were the cleanest in the region's post-independence 
history, according to NGO representatives, OSCE election 
monitors and local media reports.  There were administrative 
glitches that lengthened both the voting and counting.  The 
OSCE long-term observer (LTO) for Rivne told us March 27 of 
credible allegations of attempted vote-buying in some city 
council races; in Rivne city, the EKO25 party allegedly 
offered people up to 50 hryvnyas (10 USD) for their votes. 
With 90 percent of Rivne's parliamentary ballots tallied, 
former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko's bloc, BYuT, is 
leading President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc, taking 31% 
of the vote to OU's 25%; Rivne media have characterized 
BYuT's victory as a major upset.  Local NGO contacts asserted 
that BYuT won because the charismatic Tymoshenko campaigned 
hard in the oblast, wooing voters with populist promises to 
hike pensions and punish "bandits."  In contrast, senior OU 
figures spent little time stumping in Rivne, opting to rely 
on heavy radio and TV advertising in the heretofore solidly 
pro-Yushchenko region.  End summary. 

Fairest of Them All 

2. (SBU) According to NGO officials, OSCE election monitors 
and local media reports, the March 26 parliamentary and local 
elections in western Ukraine's Rivne Oblast were the cleanest 
in the region's post-independence history.  The OSCE 
long-term observer (LTO) for Rivne, recapping reports from 
OSCE observer teams throughout the oblast, told us on March 
27 that, as was the case nationwide, there were minor 
administrative glitches that slowed both the voting and the 
counting (reftel). 

3. (SBU) The most common hiccup, the LTO noted, was long 
lines.  Rivne's leading independent newspaper, Rivnenska 
Hazeta, reported on March 27 that even Mayor Viktor Chaika 
and Governor Vasyl Chervoniy had to queue up at their 
respective polling stations.  The LTO also said, nonetheless, 
that turnout was strong in the oblast; Rivnenska Hazeta put 
turnout at 70 percent and featured a front-page story about a 
dedicated young woman who voted only two hours after giving 
birth (to a healthy 8.4-pound baby girl). 

Allegations of Vote-Buying in City Council Races 
--------------------------------------------- --- 

4. (C) According to the LTO, there were a few reports of 
vote-buying in local races.  For example, one OSCE observer 
team was pulled aside by a polling station chairwoman in 
Rivne city and told that representatives of the party EKO25 
had been going door to door in neighboring apartment 
buildings offering people 15 hryvnyas (3 USD) to vote for the 
party on the city council ballot.  The chairwoman alleged 
that EKO25 activists had significantly upped the bribe, to 50 
hryvnyas (10 USD), during election-eve canvassing on March 
25.  Bribe-taking voters were reportedly warned that EKO25 
activists would be checking individual polling station 
results and would "be back for their money" if protocols 
showed zero votes for the party. 

BYuT Whips Our Ukraine... 

5. (SBU) With 90 percent of Rivne's parliamentary ballots 
tallied, former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko's eponymous 
bloc BYuT appears to have thrashed President Yushchenko's Our 
Ukraine (OU) in the oblast, taking 31% of the vote to OU's 
25%.  Rivne is part of the solidly pro-Yushchenko "Orange" 
heartland, and, according to media reports and local NGO 
representatives, OU had been expected to easily take first 
place the oblast.  The Rivne media have generally 
characterized the BYuT win as a major upset that has stunned 
OU's local leadership. 

...Because of Yuliya's Barnstorming 

6. (SBU) Contacts from local NGOs, including the Committee of 
Voters of Ukraine, asserted to us March 27 that BYuT won 
largely because Yuliya Tymoshenko personally campaigned in 
Rivne, holding populist rallies in the oblast at which she 
promised, among other things, to boost pensions and "punish 
bandits."  In contrast, our contacts observed, top OU figures 
spent little time stumping through Rivne.  The party relied 
instead on radio and TV advertising to motivate voters. 




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